Identified themes for SCF Round 3
We are seeking applicants with innovative solutions in the following themes:
Branding, Packaging and Distribution Channel:
A major constraint faced by most agribusiness and processing companies from the Koshi Province that work in the four value chains is the lack of locally available expertise and technical skills related to the branding, packaging and distribution of products. With limited availability of local service providers, such businesses suffer from poor branding strategies and unattractive packaging which fails to create a buzz and stimulate demand for their products in the market.
Another major constraint is the lack of understanding and awareness about branding and packaging of products. With businesses and companies still treating branding and packaging as expenses rather than value addition, products are often packaged in low grade material and labeled haphazardly resulting in poor brand image for the products. Even for companies that understand the importance of branding and packaging in the Koshi Province, the unavailability of services and proper packaging materials locally results in cost implications and higher prices.
Product branding, packaging and distribution are closely linked together as effective branding and packaging help in creating a strong buzz for products and driving their sales while distribution channel services ensure products are available at the required places at the right time.
Like branding and packaging, the major constraint in providing distribution channel service is the poor access to local service providers and continued dependence on intermediaries for services resulting in lower profits and limited flow of information. This continued reliance on traditional mechanisms has also resulted in poor linkages to modern trade systems, low level of digitisation and technology adoption and limited availability of products from the four value chains in different parts of Nepal.
SCF Round 3 is seeking service providers from the private sector that have innovative, market-driven and sustainable solutions for increasing availability of improved and innovative branding, packaging and distribution channel services for value-added dairy, maize, cardamom and vegetable products in the Koshi Province.
The fund will provide financial and technical support towards increasing access to services and attracting/developing service providers that can help expand agricultural activities as well as market for agricultural products of the Koshi Province. Innovation, with disruptive potential, will be of prime importance for the challenge fund. NAMDP will, among others, connect with existing start-up support mechanisms to incentivize and launch disruptive innovation. The CF would look at proposals that address the following (covered in further detail under guiding principles of the information pack:
- respond to market challenges.
- are innovative, and additional to what would have happened without Sahaj’s support.
- are inclusive, target women, marginalized groups, and other disadvantaged groups (DAGs).
- will be sustainable after Sahaj’s funding and have the potential to scale up.
- will contribute costs/funds to the proposed solution.
Objectives of the Challenge Fund
- Contribute to increasing employment and value-add in the agricultural sectors (maize, dairy, cardamom and vegetable) of the Koshi Province in Nepal.
- Solicit innovative ideas to address some of the most challenging problems and obstacles identified in Branding, Packaging and Distribution channel services for products in the four value chains.
- Catalyze service providers within the four value chains to provide innovative and market-driven solutions to improve the branding, packaging, and distribution channel of agricultural products of the Koshi province and to expand their reach on a country wide scale.
- Address challenges where disruptive, ‘break-from-the-past’ type innovations are considered key to move the needle in service provision which can solve persistent bottlenecks in the private sector functioning in branding, packaging, and distribution channel of agri-products in the Koshi province and thereby contribute to a higher level of commercialization and economic value-add in the selected agri-sectors.
- Competitive process
- Cost sharing
- Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI)
- Green growth, climate change
The majority of the SCF support is expected to be provided through grants. Where relevant, the fund may consider providing technical assistance. In cases where established companies want to embark on a disruptive innovation, a conditional grant (risk-sharing) or co-investment (matching grant) may be considered as well. Due to the nature of disruptive innovation, often done by new companies, no loan guarantees are expected to be provided, as these would imply repayment obligations soon after the disbursement (bank lending is generally considered less suitable for early-stage business initiatives).
While the nature of the SCF grant is primarily to support disruptive innovation, it is expected that partners (grantees) contribute to the projects and innovations they propose. The overall rate of cost sharing is variable, and a function of the stage of the company or partner SCF chooses to work with. In general, the more established (and cash-positive) a company is, the higher the expectation of cost sharing.
Process and Timeline
Budget, Funding and Duration
The largest fund awards will not exceed NPR 5 million, although exceptions are possible if approved by the SCF Committee. No fund award shall be less than NPR 500K to manage the administrative workload involved in each individual engagement. Awards and accompanying support for innovations are generally expected to last for one year. Where necessary, the SCF Committee may decide to continue support for subsequent periods; this will always be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Nepali Companies (start-ups, young service providers or a separate team or division from an existing company) that intend to develop a new business line with innovative new branding, packaging, and distribution channel ideas.
- Start-ups that are seeking to expand and have a minimum feasible product and a strong business plan.
- Operating in the selected or related field for at least 1 year or have a credible business idea and plan to form a business.
- That have a minimum viable product, and solid business model and are looking to accelerate.
- That are financially sustainable (i.e. cash flow positive) or demonstrate a credible business plan/projections towards financial sustainability over the next three to five years.
- In case of an existing business, be registered at the company register and tax office and up to date on their registrations and tax duties.
- Able to demonstrate internal procedures and systems to ensure that the grant can be used transparently and efficiently.
- Be able to demonstrate their capacity to provide the funds budgeted for their own contribution.